Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Pixeet 360: Create 360° spherical virtual tours on your iPhone!

Pixeet 360 iPhone app

While window-shopping on the iTunes app store for panoramic camera apps, I discovered a little-known 360° panoramic app from Japan called Pixeet 360. Quicktime VR experiences typically require expensive hardware, software and photographic know-how. Pixeet 360 leapfrogs all that by allowing anyone to capture and create these immersive experiences right on their iPhone.

While their app is a free download (iTunes link) for viewing panoramas, making your own immersive 360° panorama requires activating the app by purchasing their $79 fisheye lens. Add their shipping fee of around $15, and you’re almost at the $100 mark for generating instant immersive panoramic experiences. Depending on how driven you are, this might not be something you’d whip your wallet out for, so let me share what I’ve discovered… Continue reading ‘Pixeet 360: Create 360° spherical virtual tours on your iPhone!’

Sneak Preview: Pukka 1.8 = Tighter integration between Delicious and Mac OS X

Sneak Peek: Pukka 1.8

If you’re on a Mac and find yourself bookmarking the entire Internet on Delicious, you’ll want to check out Code Sorcery Workshop’s upcoming Pukka 1.8.

While it’s easy enough to use the Delicious bookmarklet to tag sites you love, having a desktop app integrates Delicious with your entire Mac OSX experience.

The Basics
Upon launch, Pukka may look diminutive, but the real power lies in how it speeds up your social bookmarking workflow in two key ways: Bookmarking and Searching

After entering your Delicious (or Ma.gnolia) account into Pukka (supports multiple accounts), it starts to cache your bookmarked links, tags and descriptions in the background. This action helps with your tagging and searching efficiency.

Bookmarking
To bookmark, tag and describe a link, you would first install the Pukka bookmarklet from the app into your favorite web browser. At your favorite site, hitting the bookmarklet launches the app and auto-fills the URL and Title of the page. If you highlighted text on the web page before hitting the bookmarklet, that specific text would also appear in the Pukka’s Description area (a real time-saver!).

Searching
While the earlier versions let you browse your recent delicious bookmarks in a pull-down menu, the new version features live search your bookmarks from the menu icon. Mind you, with Command-F to find, it’s lightning fast!

As you can see, almost everything in Pukka can be executed with simple keyboard commands, making the entire bookmarking and searching experience ridiculously quick once you get the hang of it.

New features of Pukka 1.8
While Pukka has always had a ton of features, here are the new ones you can look forward to in version 1.8:
* New search feature
– available from Window > Search (Command-F)
– also available from menu bar
– global keyboard shortcut assignable
– allows filtering by title, URL, tags, description, or all four
* Ability to drag-and-drop reorder accounts in preferences
– allows you to set a preferred account at startup (first account)
* Auto-expanding description field
* AppleScript access to all bookmarks and their properties

On the whole, the live search feature is where I feel the app is given a second life, while Applescript access would let hardcore users get the most out of Pukka. The description field has a unique touch of auto-expanding, though I’d simply prefer to be able to resize the entire window so I can also see my lengthy tags with less clicks.

Code Sorcery Workshop notes that pricing remains the same as the last version, $16.95. Current owners of Pukka 1.x get this as a free upgrade. Look for Pukka 1.8 this week or so, which will run on both Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5.

Macworld 2009: BoinxTV – elegant live video production for Mac

I’ve beta-tested it, loved it and even bought myself a sponsored edition for just $97 at Macworld Expo 2009. It’s normally $199 from their web site, with the full version being $499.

Why do I like BoinxTV so much?
Bastian, the video guru at Boinx Software, explains some of the key features of BoinxTV for live video production on the Mac.

BoinxTV’s slick interface, hardware flexibility (see how he uses a midi mixer for channel control), and extensibility (create show templates) won it over for me.

Being real-time means you get to stream shows live (e.g. Ustream.tv via GrabberRaster) with multi-camera support, overlays, chroma keys (for green screen) and more. It also means we get to produce video podcasts on the fly, with literally no need for post-editing over than video encoding for targeted media players.

They’ve just released BoinxTV 1.1 and here’s hoping for a strong user community and support.

Macworld 2009: Microvision’s “Laser-Powered” Pico Projector

3M and Texas Instruments have all made handheld pico projectors, but Microvision might have just upped the ante with their “laser projection” technology.

Jacques Lincoln, Microvision’s Global Product Manager, explains that by using laser instead of LEDs to project light, image projections never needs focusing (as you’ll see in the video), and maintains better contrast and accuracy.

Microvision’s codenamed “Pico Projector” is expected to arrive mid-2009 at an estimated price of around US$500.

UPDATE: Being highly mobile opens up new possibilities for displaying imagery in the open world. As seen in this Pico Underground blog, animal projections in everyday spaces create for a surreal synthesis of the real and virtual.

Macworld 2009: Techsmith’s Jing Pro

While I got to see a preview of Camtasia for Mac, it’s not ready for public viewing. What I can show you though, is the “Pro edition” of Jing released earlier this month.

Katie Lewis of Techsmith demos some of the new features Jing “Pro” offers, which includes:

  • YouTube export and uploading
  • MPEG-4 export, great for editing and podcasting
  • Jing branding removal

At $14.95 per year, Jing Pro comes at a decent price for the convenience of screencasting on the fly. Do note that the free version of Jing is still available complete with complimentary hosting on Screencast.com

Macworld 2009: IPEVO Kaleido R7 Wifi Display (photos + widgets)

IPEVO’s marketing executive Caroline introduces me to an LCD picture frame that does more than just show great photos, the IPEVO’s Kaleido R7

The Kaleido R7 comes as a 7-inch, 800 x 480 LCD display, with 512MB internal memory as well as an SD card slot. This glossy looking networked picture frame comes in both wired ($169?) and wifi ($199) versions, auto-senses landscape/portrait modes, and grabs online content through RSS feeds, including photos from Flickr and Picasa. Best of all, it runs a bunch of Internet widgets which elegantly displays all kinds of information, from weather to blogs. There’s even an Eyestage iPhone app for syncing and controlling the picture frame.

For the hardcore geeks out there, you could use the Kaleido R7 as an “ambient display”, to keep track of things that matter to you without clogging up your regular computer display.

Interestingly, the hardware design seems to strike a resemblance to Sony’s OLED Digital TV, the XEL-1. What do you think?

For details on the IPEVO’s Kaleido R7, see http://us.ipevo.com/ces2009/

Macworld 2009: Brenthaven’s Switch Messenger Bags

Freshly announced at Macworld 2009, Brenthaven CEO Scott Armstrong gives me the lowdown on their new line of changeable laptop bags called the Switch Messenger Bags.

Brenthaven bags are well-known for being tough at protecting your laptop, but are also known to have a professional standard look to them. With the newly patented custom flip covers for these bags, users can now show off both their casual and professional personalities.

If you’re interested in these Switch Messenger Bags, you can create your own flaps over here. Retails $129.95.

Macworld ’09: Origins of Ocarina for iPhone

One of the SMULE engineers, Spencer, reveals the backstory of how the inventive Zelda flute application, Ocarina, was created for the iPhone.

Apparently SMULE produce all kinds of musical apps as they’re using a unique audio coding language for creative yet rapid development. A key member of SMULE is Ge Wang, a PhD student at Princeton, who was profiled by Apple for his Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk).

Ge Wang had developed ChucK as a programming language tailored for generating and making sense of sound. It’s designed to have a shallow learning curve as Wang claims that it is possible for someone who’s never programmed before to start making music within the first 30 minutes.

To see how popular Ocarina is, just search on Youtube for fans showing off their Ocarina playing skills.

See http://ocarina.smule.com for details, or better yet, join their “This Contest Blows!” contest!

Photos: What Kevin did at Macworld 2009…

Apple's banks of iLife
Macworld 2009 mosiac
Pick to see entire photo set or full-screen slideshow.

These photographs chronicle my adventures in and out of Macworld 2009, in my quest to make the best of my time in beautiful San Francisco.

Besides seeing new products, you’ll notice some of my trips to Qik and CitizenSpace. I’m on a mission to interview a few people I admire.

I’ve still got more video interviews to go, so for now, just take your time and explore these photos. To make it worth your while, I’ve captioned every picture with a backstory.

Panorama: Top Floor of NSC @ UB [processed using Hugin]

Panorama: Top floor of Natural Science Complex

Panorama: Top floor of Natural Science Complex

Click images to enlarge…

In my earlier post, I showed you how you could capture and process panoramas automatically on your iPhone.

Elia Diodati reminds me that for the rest of us without iPhones or wish for higher quality panoramas, try using the open-source panorama stitcher, Hugin. Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Above is a panorama I created from the fifth floor of the Natural Science Complex in UB North Campus, back in early October. Shots were taken using my iPhone, then automatically stitched together using Hugin on my Mac.

As you can see, unlike the horizontal “Panorama” for iPhone, Hugin allows for more complex shots, where it merged photos taken both vertically and horizontally.